The Cleveland Cavaliers have suffered a lot of injuries but have remained strong contenders in the Eastern Conference. They’re coming off a loss to the Houston Rockets but have still won four of their last six games overall.
They now have to face off against the Charlotte Hornets, a team that was starting to gain a bit of traction before losing their last two games. Could they get back on track and hand Cleveland its second consecutive loss?
- Game: Cleveland Cavaliers (31-21) at Charlotte Hornets (28-24)
- Location: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
- Day/Time: Friday, 7 p.m. ET
- Television: BSSE
Cleveland Cavaliers at Charlotte Hornets
Cavs Not on Point
The Cavaliers have an incredible amount of talent at the point guard position, but injuries have left them severely lacking there. Ricky Rubio and Collin Sexton each suffered serious season-ending leg injuries, which sapped a lot of talent and depth here.
Darius Garland has been phenomenal but he also has been ruled out for this game due to a minor injury. The team now has to play very top heavy and utilize their big men to get the job done.
Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, Kevin Love and Lauri Markkanen have all been major contributors at times for the Cavaliers. They have been a massive reason why Cleveland is No. 2 in the league in terms of points allowed per game.
If they want to keep on winning, they are going to have to win this game defensively.
Hornets Heat Up Offensively
Charlotte is really starting to come together on the offensive end of the court. LaMelo Ball is acting as their primary ball-handler, averaging 19.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.7 assists.
Miles Bridges has been the perfect partner for Ball, supporting him with 19.9 points. Outside of these two scorers, the Hornets have three other guys averaging in double digits with one more sitting at 9.9.
There is a reason that Charlotte is ranked No. 1 in the league in terms of points scored per game. We’ll see if the Hornets can dictate the pace here and cut through a strong Cavs defense.
It’s obvious that the Cavaliers look completely different with or without Garland on the floor. He keeps this entire offense in motion while their frontcourt hold down the fort defensively.
Without Garland, players aren’t able to consistently create their own shots unless somebody like Rajon Rondo can have a big game as a facilitator. However, he only gets about 19 minutes per game.
As for the Hornets, they are a hot offensive team right now, although they have lost their last five games when Ball is the leading scorer.
Maybe the best strategy for Charlotte is to have somebody else put together a huge game while Ball focuses on creating offense for his teammates.